What does it mean when someone uses the phrase ‘align with’? What does it mean for someone to be ‘aligned with’ something else?
When someone is ‘aligned with’ someone or something, it means that they support, agree with, or are forming an alliance with that person or thing.
To ‘align with’ someone or something means to agree with, support, or form an alliance with an idea or person.
For example, let’s say that your boss came up with a new morale-boosting initiative at work that you are excited about. When you and your coworker discuss this, you might say something along the lines of “I think it’s a great idea. I am completely willing to align myself with this new plan.”
On the other hand, you could also use the phrase ‘not in align with’ to show that you and another person or idea are not on the same page. Let’s say that two of your best friends are fighting, and they are both pressuring you to pick sides. You might say, “I’m not going to align myself with either of you. You need to work this out between yourselves!”
The word ‘align’ dates back to the early 15th century when it literally meant “to range (things) in a line” and also referred to the copulation of wolves or dogs. It comes from the Old French alignier which meant “set, lay in a line.”
The sense of ‘align’ which means “fall into line,” wasn’t used until 1853.
‘With is a word that has a long history and comes from an Old English word that means “opposite, toward, from, by, against, near.”
Using Google’s Ngram Viewer, we see that the phrase ‘align with’ was rarely used until the 1880s and didn’t really start to pick up regular usage until the 20th century. The graph shows an exponential curve, with the phrase becoming increasingly common around the 1980s.
How would you use ‘align with’ in a sentence? Let’s take a look at some examples:
What are some other ways that you can communicate a similar meaning as the one conveyed by ‘align with’? Here are some examples:
Are you really starting to ‘align yourself with’ the idea that idioms can add a lot of richness and depth to your vocabulary? If so, be sure to check out our idioms blog!